SECURITY has been stepped up at the former Terry’s chocolate factory in York to tackle a growing problem of vandalism and theft.
The Chocolate Works site, in Bishopthorpe Road, is now protected 24 hours a day at the instigation of site owners GHT Developments, said Matthew Jones, of York property firm Savills, which is handling the ongoing sale of the site.
News of the move comes after local councillor Sandy Fraser revealed police had been increasingly concerned about vandalism and theft, particularly metal theft, from the site.
The Press has also discovered that an “urban explorers” website was featuring a series of photographs of the factory interior and exterior, said to have been taken by an “explorer” who toured the factory last month.
The trespasser is said to be a new member of 28DaysLater.co.uk, a “digital meeting place for like-minded people to share their experiences, reports and photographs” after overcoming some degree of challenge in getting into urban sites.
He claimed on the site that he visited Terry’s with two non-members in January and said: “Easy access to the site, no security, doors and windows open, plus we managed to make it to the top of the remaining factory and Clock Tower.”
One of those involved said: “The explore was a good one, the site itself was easy to look around. The buildings are very interesting, they had lots of original fittings and features still in place, such as the toilets and all the glazed brick.
“The clock tower was very fun to go up, the stairs were still all there and we got to the top, and had a very grand view of the whole of York. It’s a pity York is losing the factory, as it looks generally beautiful.”
There is no suggestion any vandalism or theft happened during their exploration and Mr Jones said the increase in security was purely coincidental. However Coun Fraser, whose Micklegate ward includes the Terry’s site, said police had raised concerns since security had apparently been reduced last year.
He said the site’s vulnerability was of concern, given the iconic nature of some of the factory buildings, and the only long-term solution was for the redevelopment to get under way and for the site to be occupied.
The factory site was put on the market last year after a £165 million scheme for hundreds of new homes, hotels, shops, bars and restaurant by York-based developer Grantside stalled.
The Press reported last month that an undisclosed company had successfully bid to buy the entire site, meaning its redevelopment could finally go ahead.